Lt. Col. W.H. Moodie

Lieutenant Colonel W.H. Moodie
9th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops
MoodieWH

Then the agony began. There we lay in fatal range, many had been killed outright in the charge, and all who had not good cover were in fearful danger and the groans from different points all over the field told too plainly how they were picking off our men. Those of us who had good cover had to stick to it though it was fearful to be there and listen to the calls of the wounded for help.

  (W.H. Moodie, 13 Dec 1899)

Born in Quebec City on 22 September 1871, Walter Hill Moodie was a British Columbia civil engineer and Boer War veteran. He volunteered with the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry and arrived to South Africa in December 1899. In letters home to Kelso, British Columbia he recounted his journey and remarked on his and comrades’ frustration “kicking our heels impatiently for our first engagement.” Two months later he experienced the full agony of modern warfare on Blood Sunday, 18 February 1900.

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Lt. Col. McMordie

Lieutenant Colonel S.P. McMordie
13th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops
McMordie

His real desire I am sure would be to land in the frontline trenches; however, his age and loss of an eye undoubtedly bars him from that objective. On learning from the press that there were many escapes from internment camps, and that two officers in charge of these camps had been suspended, it occurred to me you needed a tough guy and the Colonel was your man.

  (G.W. Nickerson to secretary, Minister of National Defence, 19 May 1941)

Stewart Percival McMordie was born on 15 November 1877 and worked in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, as a contractor. He enlisted in the 48th Battalion in August 1915 and went overseas as a major. Following an instructional tour of the front, he re-joined the 48th which was re-designated 3rd Canadian Pioneers. On 13 June 1916, McMordie was badly wounded by a high explosive shell. A steel splinter resulted in the loss of his right eye.

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Lt. Col. Johnston

Lieutenant Colonel G.C. Johnston
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles
GCJohnston

During the morning of February 3rd [1916], I had the honour of a visit from General Currie, one I did not at all appreciate, as he at once proceeded to reduce me to a nervous wreck by putting me through a whole catechism of questions as to where I was to go, and what I would do with my company in the event of the Huns breaking through the front line. At this point, when I was thoroughly uncomfortable, the Bosche commenced to shell the hill and some shrapnel, coming through the roof, wounded one of our batmen, Hawkins, broke a window and ended the interview, much to my relief. Ten minutes after the general left the shelling became more intense, and before it finished we had fourteen casualties.

 (G. Chalmers Johnston, 2nd CMR in France and Flanders, 18)

George Chalmers Johnston was born in London, England on 21 April 1874. A general agent in British Columbia with the 30th B.C. Horse, Johnston enlisted in Lieut. Col. J.C.L. Bott’s 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles as a captain in December 1914. Continue reading

Lt. Col. Kirkpatrick

Lieutenant Colonel G.H. Kirkpatrick
11th Canadian Mounted Rifles & 72nd Battalion
GHKirkpatrick

The outstanding fearlessness of the new C.O., Lieut-Col. G. H. Kirkpatrick, D.S.O., also calls for special notice. This was the first occasion on which he had complete command of the Battalion in an action, and his courage and coolness were an inspiration to all ranks.

(History of the 72nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, 1920, 150)

Guy Hamilton Kirkpatrick succeeded Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Clark in command of the 72nd Battalion on 5 September 1918. Born on 5 November 1875 in Kingston, Ontario, he graduated from the Royal Military College in 1896 and fought in South Africa with Lord Strathcona’s Horse. His father, Sir George Airey Kirkpatrick (1841—1899), had been a Conservative MP and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

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Lt. Col. E.J. Ryan

Lieutenant Colonel E.J.W. Ryan
102nd (British Columbia) Battalion
EJWRyan

When wounds compelled my temporary retirement you exhibited the same fine qualities of patience, obedience and endurance under the command in turn of my second, Major (now Lieut.-Colonel) E.J. Ryan, D.S.O. So many changes in command might well have taxed the discipline of older troops than you, but to the everlasting credit of the 102nd Battalion you gave each and all a full measure of confidence and devotion.

 (Lt. Col. F Lister, address to 102nd, 25 May 1919)

A building contractor in Vancouver, Edward John Wilson Ryan was born in Mille Isle, Quebec on 7 September 1884. He enlisted with the 121st Battalion as a captain in December 1915. After a promotion to major, he went on an instruction tour of the front with the 102nd Battalion in October 1916. He was retained for service in France and later became the unit’s second in command.

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Lt. Col. Mackay

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Mackay
225th (Kootenay) Battalion
JMackay

Col. Mackay says that he made the appointment solely upon the merits of the applicant, and that no appointments he has made, or may in future make, will be upon any other basis than that of proven merit, and that all commissions o be issued, excepting the staff, in the 225th battalion, will be of the rank of lieutenant, the promotions to the higher ranks to be made after fitness and competency has been demonstrated by service.

(Lethbridge Herald, 28 Mar 1916, 4)

A native of Ireland, Joseph Mackay was born in Londonderry on 16 September 1865. After immigrating to Kingston, Ontario with his family as a boy, MacKay moved to Carleton Place. He joined the 42nd Battalion, Lanark and Renfrew Regiment and rose to become its commanding officer in 1898. He was succeeded by Lennox Irving in 1901 and retired to British Columbia. Continue reading

Lt. Col. McLelan

Lieutenant Colonel A. W. McLelan
121st (Western Irish) Battalion

Col. McLelan’s plan is this: All officers enter his regiment as lieutenants. They are given fullest opportunities for displaying their ability, and according to merit the senior appointments, such as those of field officers and captains of companies, are granted… Men who have captains and field officers’ certificates are placed on the same basin as the other officers and must qualify in this competitive sense for the senior rankings.

 “I think this is the only way in which real efficiency can be arrived at,” said Lieut.-Col. McLelan this morning. “My officers will know that they must make good, and it keys everyone of them up to do his best.”

 (Vancouver World, 19 Jan 1916, 15)

Archibald Woodbury McLelan was a fifth-generation Canadian of Irish ancestry. He was born on 26 August 1884 in Londonderry, Nova Scotia. McLelan’s namesake was his grandfather (1824—1890), the Lieutenant Governor of the province between 1888 and 1890. In the first Canadian parliament, the elder McLelan had sat as an anti-confederation member until an appointment to the Senate in 1869.

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Lt. Col. Worsnop

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Worsnop
50th & 75th Battalions

Worsnop

Major Worsnop, who is heavy and strong in physique, was a source of strength to any forward line, and one of his most notable achievements was to kick off, catch the ball on the bounce, touch down, and kick the goal.

(Vancouver World, 31 Jan 1916, 2)

Born on 5 August 1879 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Charles Benson Worsnop was the son of British Colonel Charles Arthur Benson. Due to his connection with British museums of science and art, his father had travelled to Philadelphia for the 1876 Centennial Exposition and stayed for five years before moving to Canada. The younger Worsnop grew up in British Columbia and joined the 6th Regiment. A noted Vancouver sportsman, the six-foot-three Worsnop excelled as the city’s rugby captain and later team coach.

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Lt. Col. Leach

Lieutenant Colonel Francis Leach
231st (Seaforth Highlanders) Battalion

Before very long you will be going overseas–an event to which I know you have all been anxiously looking forward, and you will then have the honour of taking your place beside the brave lads who have preceded you.

(Lt. Col. Leach, January 1917)

Francis Easton Leach was a graduate of the Royal Military College and a veteran of the Boer War. A native of Montreal, he was born on 24 November 1875. After doing survey work in South Africa, he was employed as a railway engineer in British Columbia. He joined the 72nd Regiment after the outbreak of the Great War and was eventually authorized to raise the 231st Battalion from Vancouver in 1916.

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Lt. Col. Winsby

Lieutenant Colonel W.N. Winsby
47th (British Columbia) Battalion
Winsby

Had long interview with Col. Winsby, 47th Bn. over charges made against his ability as C.O. by Gen. Hilliam, & I gave him until tomorrow morning to send me in, in writing, his answer to these charges.

(Gen. Watson, 4th Division, 8 Mar 1917)

The charges against Winsby are of so contrived a character and now so serious to his battalion and brigade, that I am compelled to recommend his removal from command.

(Gen. Watson, 4th Division, 20 Mar 1917)

William Norman Winsby was a Victoria teacher, principal and school inspector. He was born on 28 October 1874 in Leyburn, Yorkshire, England. He was a twenty-year member of the 5th Regiment and succeeded Arthur Currie as commanding officer in January 1914. At the end of that year, he received authorization to raise the 47th Battalion from New Westminster in November. Continue reading